DAY 78: Thursday 4 June
Good morning all
Today is Day 78 of our daily emails, and you may well ask ‘what’s so special about that?’ Well, as many of you know both Karen and I have a certain fascination with numbers. We’ll be driving in the car and Karen will notice a sequence in the numbers on the digital clock such as – 22.214.171.124. = 12:34pm.
Or we’ll be on a longer journey and the trip computer is showing we have covered 123 miles with 45 to go and our average speed has been 67 mph and we’re due to arrive at our destination at 8 o’clock (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8)
Dates and times especially in this current year also given us some enjoyment - twenty past 8 o’clock in the evening of 20th Feb was 20-20-20-02-20-20.
Call us sad if you like but we do delight in spotting such things!
So, what’s special about today’s email? Today is the 156th day of this year. This email is edition number 78. It was 78 days from the start of this year to the first daily email, and it’s been a further 78 days since.
Karen and her sister Helen have a weird tradition of calculating someone’s age by adding together the numerals of their real age until arriving at a single digit. So someone who is 65 would be 6+5=11, then 1+1=2; so they are suggesting you are 2. Crazy isn’t it, but it does mean you can justify behaving like a child with the excuse – I’m not really 53 ‘cause I am behaving like a 8 year-old!’
Now as it happens that does have some Biblical justification –
Matthew 18:3 - And Jesus said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
However, we do need to be careful not to attach too much importance to particular numbers or fascinating sequences of numbers. Mysticism and astrology often use numbers as if they hold some magical power and even in Christianity there are examples of misuse of numbers. Why is the number 13 considered to be so unlucky that many local authorities won’t allocate the number 13 when a road of new houses is built and at one time even the DVLA didn’t allocate the number 13 on vehicle registrations.
More than 80 percent of hi-rise buildings in the United States do not have a 13th floor; many airlines don’t have a row 13 in their seating plan and many hotels don’t have room 13. In certain Western cultures it is considered unlucky to have 13 guests at a dinner table so will place a teddy bear on a seat to make the numbers up to 14.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission when an oxygen tank exploded on 13 April 1970. Fortunately, the crew were able to circle round the back of the moon and return safely to earth. Then there is the fear of Friday 13th which is traced back to Judas Iscariot in the Bible. Jesus plus 12 disciples =13 and Judas is regarded as that 13th person and it was Judas who betrayed Jesus and then regretted what he had done after Jesus was condemned to be crucified on the Friday and Judas went out and committed suicide.
In the Old Testament we read of Joshua and the Children of Israel marching around the city of Jericho – once each day for 6 days and then 7 times on the seventh day before the walls came tumbling down – 6 + 7 = 13.
Mathematicians and scientists, point to pre-eminence of the number 12, often considered the “perfect” number, in the ancient world. The ancient Sumerians developed the numeral system based on the use of 12 that is still used for measuring time today; calendars have 12 months; a single day is comprised of two 12-hour half days, etc. Following so closely on the heels of a “perfect” number, some argue, the poor 13 was sure to be found lacking and unusual. Today the fear and superstition of the number 13 predominates in the Western world and in many Eastern cultures it is the number 4 that is feared.
In our personal lives, we often live by numbers and aspirational numbers. I need to get to below certain weight. I need to walk 10000 steps per day. I need to reduce my calorie intake. To pass a driving test you have to demonstrate you can read a number plate at 20 metres and of course in recent weeks when we go shopping we have to keep 2 metres apart.
Numbers can be powerful tools and are used particularly in declarations meant to impress or instil fear. Propaganda will exaggerate the numbers of an opposing army to instil fear in enemies. Commercial propaganda will exaggerate the benefits of investments or acquisitions.
Politicians will often exaggerate numbers as we saw in the Brexit arguments and more recently in the coronavirus briefings data. Donald Trump does not bother to exaggerate with actual numbers but with words ‘it’s a big, big, big number, it’s actually a very massive big number.’
But strangely Mr Trump’s words could describe how we could count the abundant blessings of God in our lives – they’re a big, big, big number, they are actually a very massive big number.
So let’s sing a numbers Hymnalong >>> COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
And remember that your Father God cares so much about every detail about you that he even keeps an inventory of your hair – He’s been busy over recent weeks!
Matthew 10:30 - And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
NEWS: No updated news to report as at 9am today
MAKE YOU SMILE: - more signs of getting old –
• You’re asleep, but others worry that you’re dead.
• You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.
• It takes two tries to get up from the couch.
• You’re on holiday and your ENERGY runs out before your money does
• You actually do want clothes for Christmas.
• Your kids come round to borrow your tools.
• You are proud of your lawn mower.